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» 2017 Play-Action Defense

Our look at play-action pass in 2017 flips to the defensive side of the ball. Carolina was historically good, Houston was historically bad, and a long-standing question about year-to-year correlation gets cleared up.

11 Sep 2017

Audibles at the Line: Week 1

compiled by Andrew Potter

Each Sunday, the FO staff sends around e-mails about the games that each of us are watching. We share information about the games that the rest of the group might not be watching, ask questions, and keep everyone else informed about which games they might want to tune into (if they can).

On Monday, we compile a digest of those e-mails and produce this feature. By its nature, it can be disjointed and dissimilar to the other articles on the site.

While these e-mails are generally written with Audibles in mind, they do not represent a standard review of all the games each week. That means we aren't going to cover every game, or every important play. We watch the games that we, as fans, are interested in watching, so your favorite team's game might not be covered to your fullest desires or even at all. (If you are a Steelers or Patriots fan, you are probably in luck; if you are a Bills fan, not so much.) We have no intention of adding new authors solely to cover every game on a given Sunday, nor will we watch a different game from the ones that we're personally interested in watching just to ensure that Audibles covers every game.

(Ed. Note: With today's Audibles at the Line we introduce our two new writers who will be alternating weeks on Film Room: Charles McDonald and Derrik Klassen. Both have worked with Doug Farrar's #NFL1000 project at Bleacher Report. McDonald also writes for the Falcoholics and co-hosts the Setting the Edge podcast. Klassen also covers the NFL draft for Optimum Scouting and writes fantasy football content for TwoQBs.com. This was also supposed to be the sort-of official introduction of new FO tech director Dave Bernreuther, who will also be contributing to Audibles, but he was in Miami hunkered down and getting through Hurricane Irma. You did get to catch him in Thursday night's Audibles special, though. Official FO welcome to all three! -- Aaron Schatz)

Pre-Game Show

Aaron Schatz: Hey! Actual football! More of it!

Bryan Knowles: Is anything with Scott Tolzien starting "actual football"?

Charles McDonald: This is preseason Week 5 for the Colts as far as I'm concerned.

Tom Gower: I don't know about you, but I'm just trying to be the best Scott Tolzien I can be, today and every day.

To put it another way, in the classic words of Terry Tate, Office Linebacker, "When it's game time, it's pain time."

Vince Verhei: Here's to another year of socially acceptable 10 a.m. alcohol consumption!

Oakland Raiders 26 at Tennessee Titans 16

Derrik Klassen: Mike Mularkey started the year with an onside kick. I've already lost my grasp on this season.

Bryan Knowles: Tennessee starts the season with a bang -- an onside kick to open the season!

It, uh. It didn't work at all. Went right to the Raiders, and they easily recovered. Still, props for some early-game excitement.

Oakland's defense still seems to be a significant problem for them. The Titans marched 75 yards downfield on their first drive, converting three long third downs as they went. Marcus Mariota scored on a read option play, which I thought was banned in the modern NFL?

Makes you wonder why the Titans thought they had to onside kick to start the season, as they encountered roughly zero resistance marching down the field.

First-and-goal from the 2: Incomplete pass to Amari Cooper.
Second-and-goal from the 2: Incomplete pass to Cooper.
Third-and-goal from the 2: Incomplete pass to Cooper.

This is all feeling very familiar to Marshawn Lynch.

Question marks in pass protection stall a Raiders drive. Jalen Richard whiffed on blitz pickup, letting Wesley Woodyard crush Derek Carr. The next play, Vadal Alexander let Derrick Morgan get past him for another sack. The Raiders are rotating Alexander and Marshall Newhouse at right tackle at the moment. That's not going to keep up if Alexander keeps playing like that.

Tom Gower: New Raiders kicker Giorgio Tavecchio hits from 52 at the end of the first half to stake his team to a 13-10 lead. By now, we have an idea why Mike Mularkey went for the onside to open the game. There hasn't been much defense, and one possession could prove key. It may seem like a low-scoring game, but Oakland has 13 points in 4 possession and Tennessee has 10 points in 3. Oakland's one non-scoring possession neared field goal range before the aforementioned pair of sacks left them punting for their own territory. Tennessee has been playing with fire, getting stalled frequently on early downs, but they (by which I mean Marcus Mariota throwing the ball) have been excellent on third downs today (5-7 on third downs, all of them with at least 5 yards to go). That's helped cover up a run game that has only 11 carries for 34 yards on a workload split between DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry.

Oakland's close to having more than fewer points than they do. They got a fourth down conversion on their first field goal drive then Amari Cooper dropped passes on first- and-third-and-goal. The punt after getting near scoring territory. Then the field goal before half, where they did an excellent job of getting close after getting the ball with less than a minute to play before deciding not to risk the long FG attempt by trying.

So far, mostly true to form from what I thought were reasonable pregame expectations.

Bryan Knowles: Piggybacking on Tom's point, Carr was 10-for-10 targeting receivers not named Amari Cooper, but only 3-for-8 while looking his way. The red zone sequence impacts those numbers, for sure, but there's something not quite clicking between the two of them yet. To be fair, when Cooper DID make a catch, it was a pretty amazing touchdown, dragging Titans with him and somehow staying off the turf, but the timing or something is just a little bit off at this point.

A tight game here. Oakland just made a great stop -- Nicholas Morrow stuffing DeMarco Murray on a 3rd-and-very-short, forcing Tennessee to settle for their second sub-30 yard field goal of the day. Oakland hangs on to 16-13 lead; these failures inside the 10 may haunt Tennessee when all is said and done.

This was the game I was most interested in in the early sessions, and it mostly delivered. I've been a bit negative on them today -- and they certainly have some issues that they need to address -- but all in all, things clicked more and more as the game went on. Marshawn Lynch doesn't look like PrimeLynch, but he looked a lot better than you'd expect someone who took a year off to look, in all honesty. Giorgio Tavecchio shows why you shouldn't bother to draft kickers; he launched a pair of 50+ yard field goals on his way for a 4-for-4 debut; I wouldn't be shocked at all if Sebastian Janikowski gets Wally Pipped this year.

But the big thing, I think, was the Titans inability to generate much of a running game against the Raiders D. DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry weren't really able to get anything going -- they combined for just 69 yards, and 21 of that was on one long run by Murray. They stalled out twice inside the 10, settling for field goals rather than touchdowns. That wasn't the total difference in the game, but the offense just wasn't able to do enough to keep them in this one. With the Titans going down and the Jaguars(!) winning, we're off to an intriguing start in the AFC South.

Vince Verhei: Marshawn Lynch perfectly summarized in two Tweets.

Tom Gower: Today was a datapoint in favor of the 8.1-win Titans team we had in FOA 2017 and in our season preview and against the 12-4 Titans team that continued last year's big rise that some people were expecting. The run game in the second half was no better than it was in the first half outside of a couple runs, and the third-and-long success didn't continue to the same degree. Oakland found room on the ground in the fourth quarter, and that was enough. Marshawn Lynch had his workload managed fairly successfully; I'm still somewhat pessimistic on him overall, but he had a good day today and a couple of outstanding runs where he defeated defenders who would have defeated most running backs.

Baltimore Ravens 20 at Cincinnati Bengals 0

Rob Weintraub: Watching today's opener in glorious black and white, as gusting Irma winds have knocked out the color in this restaurant's TVs. Hope I have a house come Tuesday...

Before the new-look Bengals can run their first play, a false start to begin the season. Let's hope that's not an omen.

First third and long for Cincy -- Cedric Ogbuehi beaten easily by Terrell Suggs, resulting in a holding penalty. Which doesn't matter, because Za'Darius Smith bests Jake Fisher on the other side, and sacks Andy Dalton. Yikes.

Last season Cincy was the least penalized team in the NFL. So naturally, they have been with three (accepted) penalties in 7 minutes of action.

Last season Cincy struggled mightily to cover running backs in the passing game. So naturally, the same holds true, as Danny Woodhead makes three grabs for 33 yards in his first drive as a Raven. But on third down near the goal line, he crumples on his break. Looks like a hammy from afar. He limps off, Ravens settle for a field goal to go up 3-0.

Now Za'Darius Smith is carted off with a lower leg injury. The Ravens are snakebitten when it comes to injuries.

When Andy Dalton throws red zone picks it's usually to the Ravens. C.J. Mosely gets him in the end zone after a long, promising drive.

Drive got behind the 8-ball when they stopped with the hurry-up spread and ran it up the gut on first and second down. That's not a good idea against the Ravens interior.

Paul Guenther doesn't blitz much, but on third and 7 just after the two minute warning, he brings the house. Baltimore runs a pick play to Jeremy Maclin who runs through a vacant secondary for the touchdown.

Then a deflected pass is intercepted deep in Bengals territory. Went right off Suggs' helmet. Third interception of the half for Dalton. He also airmailed a bomb with Cody Core streaking wide open. He's been awful. Now 17-0 Ravens. What a great start.

Bengals also lost starting guard Trey Hopkins to injury. Already poor offensive line now forced to throw against top defensive line.

On a positive note, the waitress spilled unsweet tea all over my laptop.

Aaron Schatz: Rob, you live in Atlanta. Do they even HAVE unsweet tea? The hurricane has not hit you yet, it cannot possibly have taken all of the sugar.

Rob Weintraub: Still plenty of sugar around, believe me -- Georgia's diabetes rate is sky high. I just avoid it as best possible. Once you drink unsweet tea you can't go back to the sugary slop.

On the other hand, after that first half, I need a stiff belt of Johnnie Walker...

Turnover #4 for Andy D. Terrell Suggs, who never did a thing when Andrew Whitworth was on the team, goes right around Ogbuehi again, strip sack inside the Ravens 10-yard line (after a diving pick by Nick Vigil). It's the worst nightmare come true -- Dalton is gonna be totally Bortlesized by the end of the season, if he makes it all the way through.

Not often you see a team go into clock killing mode early in the third quarter, but the Ravens just moved from inside their ten to inside the Bengals ten without completing a pass. They ran on 11 straight plays, got the drive extended by a dubious PI call, ran it twice more, got the drive extended by another, more dubious defensive hold, then almost were picked twice. Settled for 3 but took most of the quarter to go up 20-0.

Flacco was belted hard on the last play, he needs some attention.

More subtle Suggs -- Cincy tries a quick screen against heavy pressure look. It's open, but Suggs is upfield and into the passing lane so quickly Boyd can't see pass until it's right on top of him. Incomplete pass.

Cincy's offense is non-functional unless the first read is open right away. Baltimore is packing the middle of the field with its linebackers like a soccer team parking the bus. So little there right away, and then the protection breaks down, or a jittery Dalton runs out of the pocket and the play is gone.

Baltimore's passing game has been non-existent since Woodhead went out, save the one blitz beater they hit late in the second quarter. But Cincy's ineffective offense has allowed Baltimore to wear down the Bengals D. When the Ravens play a team that can move it on them a little bit, they will struggle to score. Gonna be a lot of 10-6 scorelines on the bottom line tracker with the Ravens this season.

Down 20-0, Cincy just punted from the Ravens 43. The Ced Ogbuehi effect (Suggs had another sack a few plays earlier). Or Lewis has just given up completely.

That draft massacred the franchise.

Pittsburgh Steelers 21 at Cleveland Browns 18

Vince Verhei: The DeShone Kizer era in Cleveland begins with a three-and-out, and a blocked punt for a Steelers touchdown. That's, um, not ideal.

Andrew Potter: The Browns are forever finding new ways to be the Browns.

Scott Kacsmar: Pittsburgh's opening drive only could have been worse with a blocked punt returned for a touchdown. They went spread and threw four wide receiver screens in a row, picking up a penalty on two of them. Even the third-and-25 play was essentially the concept of a screen, and Antonio Brown didn't seem to come off the field 100 percent from the tackle on it. Very unimaginative start.

Vince Verhei: The player comment for Antonio Brown in FOA 2017 said in part that the Steelers called too many wide receiver screens. So the Steelers come out and open the new season with -- I am not making this up -- FOUR STRAIGHT WIDE RECEIVER SCREENS. They result in one drop and two holding penalties. Yeah. Antonio Brown catches a shallow cross on third-and-25 and the Steelers punt.

First quarter ends in Cleveland all tied at 7. It has been a creative small-ball attack for the Browns -- their wide receivers have just one official target, a 3-yard catch by Ricardo Louis. But David Njoku had a big catch for a third-down conversion and drew a 21-yard pass interference to get the Browns inside the 5. A few times the Browns have come up with three players in the backfield, side-by-side-by-side almost like a wishbone. Sometimes they've run out of it, but sometimes they've motioned to an empty set to get their running backs isolated in space against linebackers. And DeShone Kizer converted a pair of sneaks in unusual situtations -- one on third-and-almost-2, one on second-and-goal for the score.

Scott Kacsmar: Not uncommon over the years to see the Steelers look lifeless for a half, but turn it on in the two-minute drill to score before halftime. A tipped ball that still made its way to Antonio Brown for a 50-yard gain got the offense going. Great throw from Ben Roethlisberger to Jesse James in the end zone for the touchdown. Cleveland is hanging in there though. Moment doesn't look too big for Kizer at all, and he's not getting much help from his blocking. He did badly miss a receiver who was wide open down the sideline on what would have set up a first-and-goal situation.

Steelers lead 14-7 at halftime. For about 27 minutes today the Browns were clearly the better team on offense and defense. Then Antonio Brown took over -- catches for 50, 11, and 19 yards on three straight plays, with missed tackles and yards-after-catch aplenty. Jesse James finished the drive with a 4-yard touchdown to give Pittsburgh the lead.

But any talk that Cleveland is tanking this season can be put to bed. Even without Myles Garrett, their defense is giving Pittsburgh all it can handle. They've definitely been playing with more energy, and have held the Steelers to 9 yards rushing (on only five carries, to be fair). The defining play for them came right before the James TD. Le'Veon Bell ran off tackle to the right. Briean Boddy-Calhoun had come on a corner blitz from the offense's left, but switched direction and ran Bell down and just planted him to the ground. Sounded like a cannon going off.

On offense, the problems giving up penetration up the middle that haunted Cleveland last year continue to haunt them. Their own running game hasn't done much more than Pittsburgh's. Kizer, as you'd expect, has had his ups and downs. He has created some sacks by holding on to the ball too long, and he missed a wide-open Kasen Williams on what would have ben a 30- or 40-yard play because he couldn't keep the ball in bounds. But he's generally done a good job of keeping the Browns moving down the field (they lead Pittsburgh in first downs, 9 to 7) despite getting little help from his backs.

Big pass interference penalty for 41 yards could be the game-changing moment in this one. Brown's arm was hooked, but I don't think you'd see that called too often. Leads to another "Outlaw TD" for the offense on a third-and-goal. Much easier throw for Roethlisberger that time on a nice play design.

Vince Verhei: The rookie T.J. Watt is having a big day for the Steelers. He leads the team in tackles so far, he's had a couple of sacks and has given Joe Thomas all kinds of trouble, and he had a leaping interception late in the third quarter when Kizer was trying to throw over his head. Steelers lead 21-10 and another score here could put this game away.

But it's not to be! The Steelers are driving, but Ben Roethlisberger's pass to Martavis Bryant is tipped by Boddy-Calhoun, and Derrick Kindred pulls in the interception. That's more interceptions for Browns safeties in 2017 (1) than they had in all of 2016 (zero). It's still 21-10 with about 12 minutes to go, but the Browns are not making this easy.

Scott Kacsmar: Down by 11, the Browns have a fourth-and-2 inside the 5. They go for it, with an empty backfield and Corey Coleman isolated on the left-hand side. He runs a slant for the touchdown. On the play, J.J. Wilcox comes in for the hit, and draws the triple-whammy of failing to knock out the ball, drawing a personal foul penalty, and injuring himself. Steelers then go for two, and Isaiah Crowell scores easily to make it 21-18. Browns kick deep, and Pittsburgh takes over with 3:33 to go. Browns still have two timeouts too.

Vince Verhei: Every time Pittsburgh absolutely needed a big play today, Antonio Brown came through. On a second-and-12, Roethlisberger killed some time drifting to his left, then lofted the ball deep to Brown, who came down with the ball amongst a crowd of Steelers. The ball came out after he was down and the Browns challenged because they basically had to, but the call stood. Bell ran for one more first down and Pittsburgh kneeled out the clock. The bottom line is what we all expected, but this was no easy win for the Steelers, and if they don't get that blocked punt to open the game, who knows how this turns out?

Bryan Knowles: This game goes to 0s now. It's the 13th consecutive opening day loss for the Browns, and they're 1-18 stretching back to 1995. 13 in a row is, by far, an NFL record -- the Eagles lost nine in a row in the '60s and '70s, but that's about it.

Still, this was a better and more competitive game than most of those, so there are signs of hope in Cleveland. They're 0-1 yet again, but maybe a little bit happier of an 0-1? Moral victory? Maybe?

Scott Kacsmar: Steelers lose with that kind of effort in most stadiums, but Browns are still a bit too rough and in development. Kizer is probably going to take a ton of sacks this year, and that's following a year where the Browns allowed 66 sacks. You live with some of them if he can extend plays too, but there wasn't a whole lot of that today. Steelers helped extend some drives with defensive penalties. Just a real sloppy performance outside of Brown on offense.

Atlanta Falcons 23 at Chicago Bears 17

Charles McDonald: Falcons offense looks similar so far. Matt Ryan just threw a strike to Julio Jones on a play action stretch play.

Bryan Knowles: Valiant effort from the Bears, who ended up with a 1st and goal down six. Two dropped touchdown passes, a batted pass and a sack ends the day, though, and Atlanta escapes with the win.

Arizona Cardinals 23 at Detroit Lions 35

Bryan Knowles: Highest Paid Player in NFL History Matthew Stafford throws his first touchdown of the season. Sadly, it's to Justin Bethel, and a pick-six for the Cardinals. Not entirely his fault; Golden Tate was blown off his route just as he was loading up to throw. So far, so good for the revamped Cardinals defense.

Scott Kacsmar: Real barn-burner in Detroit. Palmer and Stafford have a combined 1-of-14 success rate so far. Detroit's already botched a punt deep in its own end and was called for a leaping penalty. At least the penalty didn't cost them four more points as Arizona eventually settled for the field goal again.

Bryan Knowles: Yawn, just another 4th quarter comeback from Matthew Stafford. Plenty of time left in this one, but I guess that's why you hand Stafford a huge deal. Ideally, they'd avoid the need for 4th quarter comebacks one of these days, but baby steps.

Tipped pick-six in Detroit and that will likely wrap things up for the Lions today. Carson Palmer, looking to put 2016 behind him, did not start off the season on a high note today. Given that it's National Jump to Conclusions Week, I'll reserve judgment on Arizona's offense until further notice ... but today wasn't pretty.

Philadelphia Eagles 30 at Washington Redskins 17

Bryan Knowles: Carson Wentz has been very up-and-down today, with some absolute highlight reel plays mixed in with some poor general play. His scramble drill, backyard football touchdown to Nelson Agholor was some great improvisation. On the other hand, he just tried to toss a pass out to his back, and air-mailed him. Unfortunately, it was a backwards pass, and Washington was able to recover fairly simply. Oops.

Derrik Klassen: Carson Wentz giving us the full experience early on. First drive was a successive string of a dropped interception, a sack, and a deep touchdown off of a scramble. The next drive, Wentz threw a screen pass high and behind, resulting in a backwards pass and a fumble. The roller coaster continues!

Aaron Schatz: The back was actually Agholor, motioning from wide into the backfield. It didn't help that Torrey Smith could not hold a block and then showed very little effort to try to dive and recover the fumble.

I hate big injuries but big Week 1 injuries are the worst. Looks like Ronald Darby is done with an ankle injury after less than one game with the Eagles. Cart took him off.

Derrik Klassen: Wentz got away with a handful of close calls in the second quarter. Probably should have been picked off at least once more. On the flip side, Philadelphia's defensive line looks like everything it was supposed to be. Fletcher Cox has the only sack thus far, but the unit is getting constant pressure on Kirk Cousins and stiffing Washington's run game. Looks like resources well spent by Philadelphia.

Aaron Schatz: OK, so some general thoughts here on Philadelphia-Washington after the first half. Thursday night's Patriots-Chiefs game was such a shocker, and I feel like for the most part this game is the exact opposite. For the most part, every player on Philadelphia and Washington is doing exactly what I would expect. Carson Wentz elusive in the pocket, getting away from pass pressure, but also constantly overthrowing guys? Yes indeed. Does Kirk Cousins look not quite as good without DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon around? Yes indeed. Is Rob Kelley very average? Certainly. Is Chris Thompson dangerous as a receiver? Yes. But is it a bad idea to let Thompson block Fletcher Cox? Of course it is. Is the Washington blocking otherwise pretty good when the Eagles only rush four? Yes. Is Josh Norman right on top of receivers? He is indeed.

The surprise, I think, is how little the Eagles are throwing to their shiny new outside receivers. Alshon Jeffery has only three targets and only one catch; two of his targets were in the final minute. Torrey Smith has only one target, a deep pass that should have been an interception but Norman couldn't hang onto it. It's hard with TV angles to tell how the coverage works to leave the tight ends and Agholor open more than the outside receivers, but it isn't about Norman. Washington is not sticking Norman on either Jeffery or Smith exclusively. They're keeping the cornerbacks on sides. So good game by Bashaud Breeland so far too. It's 16-14 Eagles at halftime and that also effectively matches what FO's preseason projections thought before this game: Philadelphia is slightly better than Washington but these teams are close.

Oh, and LeGarrette Blount caught a touchdown pass sneaking out of the backfield on the goal line. So, that was odd.

Philadelphia is winning 19-14 in Washington and Kirk Cousins threw a 6-yard out to Jamison Crowder on third-and-9 from the Philadelphia 15. Crowder couldn't keep his feet in bounds but still, what is even the point? Isn't the point of a negative ALEX throw on third down to make the sticks with yards after the catch? It's an out pattern which Crowder is supposed to catch a foot before he goes out of bounds. There's no way for him to get YAC. So... you made a 33-yard field goal into a 27-yard field goal? Whoop-de-do. Run routes to the damn sticks.

Washington has it to 19-17 and has gotten it into the red zone with a couple of nice passes to Terrelle Pryor, and then Kirk Cousins just sails it way over Jamison Crowder's head and into the arms of Jalen Mills. Oops.

I should add that Jim Schwartz has done a really good job of timing the blitzes today and that Cousins pick came with the Eagles sending seven guys and Jordan Hicks unblocked up the middle.

Derrik Klassen: It's not yet manifested into anything, but Torrey Smith is providing the vertical presence the Eagles so desperately needed. He's worked himself free over the top a few times today. Wentz will connect eventually, be it some point in the remainder of this game or in the week to come.

Aaron Schatz: Morgan Moses has been the weak link on the Washington offensive line today. Brandon Graham just beat him easily to hit Kirk Cousins' arm for a sack-fumble-six. Could be the end of the game, unless they decide that Cousins' arm was going forward and it is actually an incomplete pass. And... NO. Ruling on the field stands. That should be ballgame.

Jacksonville Jaguars 29 at Houston Texans 7

Bryan Knowles: I think we need to send a big, big warning to coaches to not challenge mass of humanity plays. Doug Marrone just tried to challenge a play at the goal line where a good 18 or 19 players were in a massive pile. Not a single clear shot of the football, but he challenged because of...I guess just for the sake of challenging.

Call stood, they went for it on 4th down and scored anyway. That had roughly a zero percent chance of being overturned, so hopefully, they won't need that timeout/challenge later in the game!

They miss the XP, so the Jags are only up 12-0. Over the defending AFC South champions, mind you.

Tom Savage is TERRIBLE.

I mean this both generically, and specifically. Not only has Calais Campbell already set the Jaguars franchise record for sacks in a game, but he just had a HORRIBLE fumble on a pass attempt, the ball just squirting out of his hand. It was returned for a touchdown the other way. He's not getting much help from his offensive line, but still!

Who could have possibly forseen Tom Savage not being the answer at quarterback? Who?

And we have our first quarterback change of the season. Tom Savage has been benched, with Deshaun Watson coming out in Houston.

Making a change halfway through your first game is not a good sign for informed coaching decisions...and it's the second time that Bill O'Brien has done that, after benching Brian Hoyer in 2015. You have minicamp, training camp, four preseason games, an entire offseason to study film...and you make a change after 30 minutes of the regular season? Hrm. Hrm hrm hrm.

Rob Weintraub: Hope he puts Savage back in for the short week game...

Scott Kacsmar: Ugh, Rob mentioned the short week game. Yes, Thursday night's game is Houston at Cincinnati, or the teams down 19-0 and 17-0 at home today. At least we'll have a nice quarterback controversy to talk about.

I thought for sure the Texans would have a spirited effort in the first game back in Houston, and J.J. Watt's return to real action. Very disappointing performance against the Jaguars. Didn't expect much from Tom Savage, but benched after a half? Probably shouldn't have been the starter in the first place. Hard to say what O'Brien does next, because he has random in his career with quarterback decisions. I think if Watson really lit it up, then he'd easily be the starter now. However, I recall the 2007 Browns benching Charlie Frye for Derek Anderson against the Steelers in Week 1. Anderson didn't fare much better than Watson in a 34-7 loss, but he started in Week 2 (against Cincinnati fittingly) and threw five touchdowns in a 51-45 win. So there is precedent for sticking with the backup even if his debut wasn't the greatest. There was at least a touchdown drive after Watson came into the game, and at this point, what upside does Savage have? All I know is I'm not happy that Week 2 begins with the teams that laid the biggest eggs in the early-afternoon slate today.

Rivers McCown: I watched this whole game on purpose. I'm not sure who is the bigger sucker: me for watching, or the local media and Bill O'Brien for believing that Tom Savage was anything more than a Zach Mettenberger wannabe. If Savage somehow stayed healthy enough to start 16 games, he would break David Carr's sacks taken record.

I don't think Watson is the answer in the short-term. He folds under pressure, especially if it's right in his eyesight. Houston's top two picks in the draft belong to Cleveland. They're probably better off with Watson in the short-term because as Scott mentioned, there's some offensive upside and at least he'll help the running game a bit. But if you do that, do you hurt his development? That's the black box we don't know much about. So, all said, this was a pretty bleak start to the season.

I was impressed with Leonard Fournette, who was tough to corral for an overmatched Texans back seven. I'm going to need to see the defense play a real offensive line and quarterback before I'm into them as a playoff team, but they at least showed they have a functional running game this year. That's a first step.

New York Jets 12 at Buffalo Bills 21

Aaron Schatz: I realize none of us are watching Bills-Jets but I need to share these tweets from Chase Stuart because hey, maybe Todd Bowles *is* in on the whole tanking thing.

Vince Verhei: I'm at a sports bar and they were asking what games to put on TV. I almost said Jets-Bills out of morbid curiosity, but knew I would have to live with the shame.

Indianapolis Colts 9 at Los Angeles Rams 46

Bryan Knowles: Hi, Scott Tolzein! First pass of the season is an underthrow to TY Hilton; Trumaine Johnson plucks it out of the air and returns it for a touchdown. Oops.

Carl Yedor: Meanwhile in Los Angeles, the Rams are off to a 10-0 lead against the Colts via a field goal and a defensive touchdown. So far, so good for new defensive coordinator Wade Phillips's unit.

Tom Gower: It's not just that Tolzien threw a pick-6 on his first attempt, but that T.Y. Hilton was never really open, and the ball, a short throw to the far sideline, hung in the air so long that Johnson had plenty of time to jump the route. Brutal all the way around. Reminder: when in our pre-draft series for ESPN Insider I listed quarterback as the Colts' not a need, that was much more a statement about (a) just how much the Colts' needed at every other position and (b) that any Luck injury would make it extremely difficult for the Colts to win games barring an exceptional backup quarterback.

Aaron Schatz: Colts bite themselves in the ass. Marlon Mack looked like he had a touchdown on a 22-yard reception, if only the Colts had challenged the call that he was tackled on the 1. Seemed pretty clear from replay. No, instead the Colts hurried to the line to run a play as if they expected the RAMS to challenge the play for some reason (???) then got two runs stuffed and an incomplete pass. So, 20-yard field goal instead of touchdown.

I'm trying so hard to stick to my "don't jump to conclusions" mantra, and the Colts do suck so badly without Luck, but wow are the Rams making our projection look good today. Jared Goff is currently 11-of-16 for 165 yards and a touchdown, and looks like his fairy godfather Sean McVay turned him into a real boy. After a start of 7 carries for 14 yards, Todd Gurley is starting to get some blocking. The defense is almost disappointing in that there are only two sacks and Tolzien has completed over half his passes.

Tom Gower: So far, the completely remade Colts defense looks mostly like the old Colts defense, struggling to stop the opponent and force them into mistakes. The surprise of this game is the Rams offense has been able to consistently execute and take advantage of their available opportunities. Jared Goff and Todd Gurley both look miles better than they did basically all of last year. Yes, it's easy to gainsay their performances, and those are reasonable caveats. But there's a baseline level of offensive performance even in favorable situations we're seeing today that we didn't see last year even in favorable situations.

Bryan Knowles: And in comes Jacoby Brissett. The lack of forethought that has gone into the quarterback decisions in Indianapolis and Houston borders on malpractice.

Aaron Schatz: Especially Indianapolis. They had all offseason to find a better backup quarterback. It's not even a Colin Kaepernick argument, necessarily. They could have signed Case Keenum or Ryan Fitzpatrick. They could have tried Chase Daniel. They could have drafted someone in the middle rounds. They could have made a trade with more than a week left in the preseason. They did none of these things.

Tom Gower: Brissett comes in. Marlon Mack bounces a run for a big gain. He throws a deep ball to Donte Moncrief, who wins the matchup against the defensive back. Off that five-play drive, he simply presents a threat throwing the ball and maybe with his legs Tolzien doesn't and should obviously be the Colts' starter going forward until Andrew Luck is healthy.

Rivers McCown: It was evident before the season that there was no reason that Chuck Pagano should still be in Indianapolis. It was evident in the preseason when the excuses started that he knew this team was completely overmatched. This is now a full-fledged calamity.

Scott Kacsmar: This is only the fifth time since 2007 that the Rams scored at least 38 points in a game. It is the second time they've done so against the Pagano-coached Colts. Two pick-sixes and a safety now after Mack coughed up the ball deep in his own end. I thought the Colts would start 1-3 without Luck, beating Cleveland. After what I'm seeing today, this team is probably going 0-4.

Bryan Knowles: Wow, Chuck Pagano's post-game presser. He said that the Colts got their "asses kicked by the 49ers."

See, game-plan for the wrong team, and you get blown out. That explains a lot.

Scott Kacsmar: Is there any doubt that Pagano is the coach most likely to be fired this year? I think I said that about Mike McCoy in San Diego a year ago.

Carolina Panthers 23 at San Francisco 49ers 3

Bryan Knowles: Carolina, as some expected, open up with both Christian McCaffrey and Jonathan Stewart in the backfield. That opens up plenty of dynamic things to do -- they've already used McCaffrey as both a decoy and a pass target -- but the Panthers are forced to punt after an early fumble.

Derrik Klassen: 49ers rookie linebacker Reuben Foster got off to a strong start. He deflected one pass after showing blitz pre-snap. Foster backpedaled from over the A-gap and got his hand in the way of a slant route. On the next drive, Foster barreled down to the line of scrimmage to take down Christian McCaffrey in the backfield on a screen pass. Unfortunately, Foster got tripped up on the next play and appears to be down with a lower leg injury. Hopefully it's nothing serious.

Bryan Knowles: Cart is out for Foster. Terrible news; he's been so dynamic in preseason.

The play after Foster goes down with what looks like a significant leg injury, Jaquiski Tartt blows a coverage and a tackle, letting Russell Shepard scamper in for a 40 yard touchdown. Back-to-back gut punches for a team that had started off quite respectably.

Rob Weintraub: In FOA 2017, we said look out for more blitzing opportunities from Shaq Thompson. And there he is! Drops Brian Hoyer for a sack in the first quarter.

Meanwhile Reuben Foster was carted off with a bad looking lower leg injury. He dropped in the draft partly due to injury concerns, but going down in the first quarter of the first game is a little cruel.

Russell Shepard, on his first touch as a Panther, catches a deep out, shakes a tackle, and scores. 7-0 Carolina.

Bryan Knowles: Jaquiski Tartt with a highlight reel interception to make up for his missed tackle, making an OBJ-esque one-handed catch to rob a touchdown. Nothing comes of it, though -- the 49ers offense having a little bit of trouble putting plays together. They go for it on 4th down near midfield, and San Francisco's offensive line opts to take the play off, resulting in Hoyer getting smothered.

Derrik Klassen: Cam Newton doesn't look right. He's good for the occasional miss, nobody is going to deny that, but he's been particularly inaccurate today. The interception to 49ers safety Jaquiski Tartt was more of a great effort on Tartt's part than anything, but Newton just missed a wide open touchdown in the red zone on 2nd down. He also missed an open out-route on the ensuing 3rd down. Even if he may not admit to it, Newton's shoulder has to be bothering him quite a bit. He's normally better than this.

Bryan Knowles: It's a good thing that Lynchahan have six-year contracts, because it's going to take a while to fix the mess in San Francisco. When Foster went down, they lost their one real difference maker, and it's not been great since then. There's potential and brief moments of interesting play, but it's a long rebuild. The fact that Foster was walking around on the sideline might be the best news they get all day.

They're only down 13-0 because Newton just doesn't look right. Maybe it's just because he missed nearly the entire preseason and he's knocking off the rust, but he's missing wide-open receivers and generally looking poor. At least, Carolina is hoping it's rust and not something wrong with that shoulder.

For the first time since 2010, the 49ers have lost their first game of the season. It's also the first time they've been held under six points in their opener since 1999, so, not a great start there for your offensive wunderkind coach. Winning game one didn't exactly help Chip Kelly or Jim Tomsula, though.

Longest active Game 1 winning streak goes to either Denver (6, if they win on Monday night) or Kansas City (3) and Green Bay (3 if they hold on against Seattle here).

Even if Newton's not 100 percent for Carolina, they can probably survive this first stretch. They get Buffalo and New Orleans at home over the next two weeks before the schedule kicks up a notch. And if the defense can keep holding teams to about 200 yards of offense, Newton can look as rusty as he wants and the Panthers will still probably pick up a few wins.

Seattle Seahawks 9 at Green Bay Packers 17

Andrew Potter: Seattle's opening three plays: near-sack barely averted by near-grounding; wide receiver screen that goes nowhere; actual sack.

Nick Perry is already eating Rees Odhiambo's lunch.

Vince Verhei: The first quarter of this game has been bizarre. First play, Nick Perry beats Rees Odhiambo for a near-sack, near-intentional grounding. Mike McCarthy then calls timeout TO ARGUE THE CALL. I'd be so pissed if I was a Green Bay fan. But it doesn't matter because Perry beats Odhiambo and gets the sack on third down.

Then Green Bay gets the ball, and the best quarterback in the world throws the most boneheaded interception of his career, just handing the ball to rookie Seattle defensive tackle Nazair Jones. But bad things happen to Jeremy Lane when Seattle intercepts the ball. He tore up his arm and ACL after intercepting Tom Brady in the Super Bowl a few years back. Here, Davante Adams baits him into a fight during the runback, and Lane throws him to the ground, gets full mount, and buries his elbow in Adams' throat. That might be legal in UFC, but not the NFL. So he's ejected now.

Andrew Potter: That Seattle play was crazy. Rookie debutant Nazair Jones looked to have a pick-six on a deflected Aaron Rodgers pass. The score was taken off the board due to two penalties against the Seahawks. The first of those could be legitimate, against Cliff Avril for a block in the back on Aaron Rodgers, but it sure looks like the initial contact is on Rodgers' shoulder. I'm not clear on the specifics of how the rule is applied, so I'll give the officials the benefit of the doubt there.

The second, however, is against Jeremy Lane for what is effectively violent conduct: Davante Adams and Lane got into a wrestling match on the sideline, fully 20 yards behind the play, and the wrestling ends with Lane on top of Adams with his forearm at Adams' neck. Lane is ejected for allegedly throwing a punch, and I didn't see that at all.

Still a big positive play for the Seahawks with the interception, but two big negatives as the touchdown was taken off the board and Lane was ejected on two rather contentious decisions.

The Seahawks took over at midfield after the penalty yardage was enforced, went three-and-out, and punted again.

Rob Weintraub: I'll say what those guys won't--it was a complete BS call on Lane. Did nothing but the refs assumed retaliation after Adams grabbed his face mask. There was none.

Bryan Knowles: Kevin King, Green Bay's first round pick, has yet to see the field so far. It's not like they have the world's best cornerback depth, so that's a little disappointing.

Aaron Schatz: They were talking for some of the offseason about King starting. So that's not just disappointing, it's also a bit surprising.

Bryan Knowles: Seattle's defense is as advertised. Rodgers has already been sacked four times today. He hasn't gone down four times in a half since 2012, when he played against ... Seattle. They're just destroying the Packers' O-Line.

Aaron Schatz: We knew the Seahawks had a bad offensive line but the Packers defense is really manhandling them. The Seahawks had two first downs in the entire first half and then as I was writing this they suddenly had two more with a 34-yard pass to Doug Baldwin and a 29-yard Wilson scramble with less than a minute left. Reminds me of the Panthers going nuts in the final minute of the first half in Super Bowl XXXVIII. They couldn't quite get it into the end zone but Blair Walsh made a 33-yard field goal and the Seahawks actually go into halftime up 3-0.

Vince Verhei: I watched every snap of the first half, some more than once, and I have no idea how Seattle managed to escape with a halftime lead. It's kind of stunning. They took over at their own 11 with 53 seconds to go. Green Bay had two timeouts, but it seemed like obvious kneeldown territory, especially after C.J. Prosise ran for a loss on first down. But Green Bay used its timeouts on first and second down, and Seattle used a timeout of its own after running for a third-down conversion, still at their own 20... and two snaps later they're in the red zone. They only have enough time to throw two incompletes before kicking a field goal, but hell, that could be enough in this game. I was going to make a joke about how the second half would be sudden death and a scoreless draw was on the table, but hey, the Seahawks had their worst offensive first half in forever and still lead. On the road no less!

Can't overlook the importance of field position in this game. Seattle drive starts: SEA 30, GB 42, SEA 29, SEA 43, SEA 31, SEA 11. Green Bay drive starts: GB 17, GB 2, GB 12, GB 8, GB 29. That's the big turnover and Jon Ryan and the coverage teams having a monster day.

Rivers McCown: Luke Joeckel is not good, and the first touchdown comes when Russell Wilson fumbles inside his own 10 because Mike Daniels made a fool of Joeckel.

Vince Verhei: I'm not sure Seattle's offensive line ever looked as bad in 2016 as they do today. Mike Daniels had 22 sacks in his first five seasons. He just got two in three plays, humiliating right guard Mark Glowinski for one and emasculating left guard Luke Joeckel for the other. The second result in a fumble, recovered by Green Bay. On the next play, Ty Montgomery takes a sweep to the left for a 6-yard touchdown run, and Packers are up 7-3.

Aaron Schatz: Does it feel to anyone else like the Seattle defense might be getting a little tired? Players seem to be cramping, and they're allowing more gains in the second half. The Seattle offense has been so bad today that it's put the defense on the field for a LOT of time. I'm not normally a time of possession guy, score is more important than possession, but the Packers are leading TOP right now 25:48 to 17:24, and it's not like the Seahawks are leading the game to make up for the TOP gap.

Bryan Knowles: Green Bay has led the league in each of the last three seasons drawing defensive 12-man penalties, thanks to Aaron Rodgers. He catches the Seahawks substituting and hits Jordy Nelson for a deep touchdown in all the confusion. It's such an underrated skill of his; it seems to give the Packers an extra shot down the field every other game.

Vince Verhei: Aaron Rodgers snaps the ball before Seattle can get its defense set, and the result is the ultimate rarity, the deep middle touchdown against Earl Thomas. It's 14-6 now with a quarter to go. To Aaron's point, it might help that the offense is on the field during the break before the fourth quarter. That defensive line is getting tired.

Bryan Knowles: Ty Montgomery limps to the sideline with some sort of foot/ankle injury. That leaves exactly 0 career games of experience at the running back position.

Vince Verhei: Every once in a while Seattle's offense just hiccups into efficiency. The Packers get a long field-goal drive, but Seattle comes back with completions of 11, 28, and 13 yards in a row to get into field goal range. Then they go incomplete three times in a row (Amara Darboh had an amazing catch down the sidelines, but the Packers pushed him out of bounds before he came down) and kick a field goal of their own. But somehow they're still in this thing, down 17-9 with six minutes and change to go, and three timeouts.

Aaron Schatz: Well, here's something you don't often see: Green Bay actually being aggressive. After Seattle used its final timeout with about 2:40 left, Green Bay ran a pass play on second-and-5 instead of just running the ball into a crowd twice to run down the clock and then punting. It was aggressive without being too aggressive: a bootleg with Martellus Bennett coming across, the kind of pass where Rodgers can either pass to the open man or scramble to keep the clock moving. Bennett was open, first down, and that should be ballgame.

Tom Gower: What a weird game. For most of the game, it felt like Seattle's fronts, both offensive and defensive, were the stories of the game, shutting down both offenses. But Green Bay found just enough to keep going. Aaron Rodgers does amazing things regularly. I wonder how the game changes should the pick-6 early in the game stand.

Vince Verhei: Welp. The bottom line is that Seattle lost by one score to Aaron Rodgers and the Packers in Green Bay. And there is nothing wrong with losing by one score to Aaron Rodgers and the Packers in Green Bay. It usually takes a very good performance to lose by one score to Aaron Rodgers and the Packers in Green Bay.

But this was also a winnable game, and a winnable game was lost because the biggest weakness on the team, which everyone knew was a big weakness, bit them in the end. And the beginning. And many, many times in between.

I don't know if I can take watching 15 more games like this, man. Even their wins are going to drive me insane. (I just got a text from my wife. "Painful and grotesque" is how she put it. I can't argue.)

Lastly, let's not forget about this: Aaron Rodgers is freakin' awesome. Just brilliant.

Charles McDonald: All I could think about watching that game was how badly Seattle's defensive line beats up on the offensive line in practice. Good to see Sheldon Richardson fitting right in, he's going to be a menace in that scheme. Aggressive, up the field, fast. Perfect fit.

New York Giants 3 at Dallas Cowboys 19

Aaron Schatz: Is it me or is the Giants' defensive line kind of dominating the Cowboys' offensive line so far? I think Snacks Harrison just pushed Travis Frederick back like seven yards. Don't see that very often.

Derrik Klassen: It's not just you. Olivier Vernon just nabbed that sack on 3rd-and-16 just as you said that. However, it probably wouldn't be as noticeable if Dak Prescott were playing better. The deep throw to Brice Butler was nice, but he's been missing, especially high, through the first quarter and change.

Aaron Schatz: Yeah. Cowboys are winning because the Giants offense is playing even worse. Just got its first first down with 11:30 left in the second quarter.

Based on charting last year, Eli Apple was the clear weakness among the top three Giants corners. Rookies take time to develop, etc. But i also think he's the guy Terrance Williams has beaten a few times tonight.

Tom Gower: Halftime. Cowboys up 16-0. Eli Manning's longest completions are a 12-yard gain to Sterling Shepard that was completed behind the line of scrimmage and an 8-yard pass to Shane Vereen that might have been completed 5, even 6 yards downfield. It's hard to win a game when you don't complete a pass more than 5 yards downfield.

Aaron Schatz: Perhaps we should consider that the issue here is not only the problems with the offensive tackles or the absence of Odell Beckham, but that Eli Manning is old. He has not aged as well as his brother, or Brady or Brees. He looked close to done last year and so far the arrival of Evan Engram and Brandon Marshall have not resuscitated him.

Scott Kacsmar: Ben McAdoo's reputation as an offensive coach who loves multi-receiver sets hasn't paid any dividends since last year. This team relies heavily on its defense. There is still enough receiving talent on the field minus Beckham, but this has been a pretty hard offense to watch tonight. And I say that as someone who is cheering on every short completion to Shepard for fantasy purposes.

Tom Gower: Eli actually completed a pass more than 5 yards downfield on the first possession of the second half, to convert a third-and-11. But overall, the story of the first half continued into the second half. Like Seattle and other teams, New York's offensive line will make it extremely difficult for their offense to perform at a high enough level to do more to hopefully complement an outstanding unit, unless and maybe even if it turns out that the opponent that destroyed them will be that successful against most of the foes they face.

Posted by: Andrew Potter on 11 Sep 2017

146 comments, Last at 13 Sep 2017, 6:25pm by gmoney_714


by James-London :: Mon, 09/11/2017 - 9:13am

Raiders-Titans, was a good, well-played, professional game of football. Everythng else last night-not so much.

Phil Simms is a Cretin.

by johonny :: Mon, 09/11/2017 - 10:33am

With Miami off I took my son to the aquarium. Caught part of the Cowboy-Giants game last night and ugh. I know these days the first few games are closer to what preseason used to be, but wow the part of the game I saw was simply unwatchable. The Giants o-line appears real bad or out of shape, if Cruz wasn't needed on this WR staff he really must be washed up because none of the people healthy seemed to be able to play in the NFL, somehow despite ample hours of nothing to comment on the TV crew managed to go out of their way to not address the running back problems in Dallas (even going so far as to comment they wouldn't comment). I kept thinking, wow if you're not going to rehash that because you need to comment on the on the field action perhaps there should be on the field action. Any would have been nice.

by Raiderjoe :: Mon, 09/11/2017 - 11:00am

well, eys, Raiders high quality, well-oiled macghine. SDoeaking of oil, Oil/Tit alrrgith sort of team just not as good as Raiders. Actually thought yesterday could maybe be one of the Raiders three losses. But titabns will be fine. Clots total mess. Texnas need heklp sorting out offensive line and quarterback problems. might be a month or tow before can become non-garbage.
jaguars have sloppy quarterback and now best wideout out for seasobn. Ttians could wuin division with 8-8 record.

by dmstorm22 :: Mon, 09/11/2017 - 11:18am

That was the perfect performance for the Raiders. Sure, there are things they can improve on (Amari's hands, pass rush), but the Raiders went into Nashville, played a team most expect to challenge for that division, if not be the favorite, and won fairly easily.

I get that they are the natural regression candidate given they had the worst point differential ever for a 12-4 team, but that was a commanding performance. Boring, business-like road wins are tough to come by in the NFL.

by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Mon, 09/11/2017 - 11:24am

I kind of think Jack Del Rio is underrated as a coach. Everyone remembers the way things ended in Jacksonville, but he was saddled with Blaine Gabbert and Luke McCown as his quarterbacks on a mediocre-at-best roster (finishing 5-11 is kind of impressive in that situation). He fielded fairly competitive Jaguars teams before that without much in the way of marquee players. Maybe we're seeing what he's capable of with actual good players.

by mehllageman56 :: Mon, 09/11/2017 - 2:25pm

Del Rio was one of the first coaches to keep going for it on fourth in the maroon zone (other team's 40 to 30). He's been underrated for a while, partly because of how bad Jacksonville was at the end, and also because of the stupid incident with the punter.

by Duff Soviet Union :: Mon, 09/11/2017 - 5:13pm

His teams from about 2004 - 08 were memorably bland, but they were pretty good. They could have done some damage in the NFC in that time.

by theslothook :: Mon, 09/11/2017 - 5:18pm

He has Peyton Manning to thank for that.

by dmstorm22 :: Mon, 09/11/2017 - 5:31pm

I feel like the 2007 team was better than memorably bland. They were actually really good the 2nd half of that season, played a bonkers Wild Card game against Pittsburgh and actually gave NE a decent run for their money in the Divsional Round (including Garrard throwing deep on 4th down on the opening drive - good David strategy in that game).

Now, the 2005 team that somehow went 12-4 despite doing nothing of note at all? Yeah, that was truly memorably bland.

That might have been the most forgettable 12-4 or better team ever.

by Rocco :: Mon, 09/11/2017 - 9:32am

You know what's fun? Watching Todd Haley neuter an offense one pointless bubble screen at a time.

by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Mon, 09/11/2017 - 9:33am

Week 1 has to be very concerning for Cardinals fans and their contender aspirations. Like you said, maybe it's one bad game, Carson Palmer looks done. His passes were mostly inaccurate lacked velocity. His interceptions were all brutal throws (yes, one was tipped, but it was still a bad pass), and he should had a 4th pick that was dropped. Hey, at least the Colts are the perfect defense to try to get back on track against!

Arizona's front seven remains dominant, but they didn't generate as much pass pressure as I was expecting (especially considering they were up against Greg Robinson at LT). They had some major problems in coverage, though.

From Detroit's perspective, I don't know whether to be encouraged or frustrated. They outplayed Arizona for the majority of the game, but they went full LOLions in the 1st quarter and spotted the Cardinals 10 free points, which is the only reason they had a 4th quarter deficit to overcome in the first place.

by BJR :: Mon, 09/11/2017 - 10:38am

Yes, Palmer was terrible yesterday. I noted in the discussion thread that he reminded me of Peyton Manning in the very final death-throws of his career, throwing bizarre interceptions when he just didn't seem to be processing what was in front of him quickly enough, then not having the arm strength to make throws he did see.

Another note from that game - the officiating was atrocious. Not in the sense of the volume of blown calls, but the absurd length of time it was taking to announce the foul and spot the ball after any penalty. The game went on for 3 1/2 half hours - far too long for a football game - much of it because the refs couldn't get their asses in gear.

by Raiderjoe :: Mon, 09/11/2017 - 10:57am

Losing C. Campbell wasn't good for the cards. C. palmer does look really odl now and is for a quarterback obviously btu pioint is kind of looks shot or just about shot. Cardinals really never developed anyone worthwhile beghind him. maybe shoudlve taken Mahomes but maybe the Cheifs jumped ahea dopf them in draft? I don't even remmvber all tghe draft stuff. pretty sure was dirnking that day and more wtahcing baseball.

is D. Stanton still Palmer;'s backup or is there some other guy there?

sorry, as now fully in football mode yet. might get to that minfset lager this week,.

Spent much of uyesterday worried my mom's house in Florida (Tampa/Sarasota/Naples part of state) might get destroyed. Laerned this morning house is fine. worst thing that happened is no power which is good news considerting what could've happened

by James-London :: Mon, 09/11/2017 - 11:11am

RJ, Blaine Gabbert is Palmer's backup. So that's going to go well...

Phil Simms is a Cretin.

by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Mon, 09/11/2017 - 11:45am

I hope Palmer rebounds enough to not get benched. I'm not prepared to live in a world where Blaine Gabbert, Scott Tolzien, Tom Savage (you know Bill O'Brien is going to stubbornly double-down on his bad decision-making), and Josh McCown (or any of the current Jets QBs) are starting NFL games at the same time.

by ChrisS :: Mon, 09/11/2017 - 12:18pm

I agree completely, the Lions ineptitude/stupidity was trumped by terrible QB play.

by LionInAZ :: Mon, 09/11/2017 - 8:36pm

I'm actually encouraged by the play of the Lions on Sunday. The defense looked better than it has in 5 years, and they didn't collapse completely in the 2nd half, even though they were on the field a long time in the 1st half. David Johnson did not wreck them. They got past the 1st quarter mistakes. Stafford threw 4 TDs against a tough secondary. Bad Palmer was a factor, but I think last year's Lions D would have folded and lost this one.

The punter situation needs to be dealt with seriously, though. Can't risk Prater doing that job with a tough schedule.

by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Tue, 09/12/2017 - 5:28am

Good point about the defense. I figured it would be better because of simple regression to competence, but they still surprised me. I thought the pass rush was going to be a disaster, but it looked better than I expected (Palmer actually escaped multiple near-sacks). Quandre Diggs actually playing well is the thing that shocked me the most. Nevin Lawson needs to stop committing penalties...he's turning into a poor man's Brandon Browner

Last year, the Lions had decent special teams for the first time in a while, but Sunday was not encouraging. I hope Sam Martin heals quickly. I hear the team is trying out some waiver-wire punters. I was frustrated at Redfern when it happened, but I actually feel bad for the guy. Finally lands an NFL roster spot after several years and it looks like his career is over already.

by LionInAZ :: Tue, 09/12/2017 - 8:37pm

Dwayne Washington definitely needs to make better decisions or we just risk Tate on kickoffs.
Losing Marin on punts was very bad. I'd even make a call to Ben Graham even though he's almost 43 now.

by James-London :: Mon, 09/11/2017 - 9:46am

Good things from Yesterday:

1: Tony Romo. Calling plays pre-snap based on what he saw, and adding value
2: Seahawks D
3: Mike Daniels
4: Jared Goff!

Bad things:
1:GB O-Line. Think Rodgers misses Lang, Sitton & Tretter?
2:Amari Cooper-Bad case of the dropsies
3: Officiating. Seattle got hosed by the refs.
997: Carson Palmer
998: Tom Savage
999: Scott Tolzein
999,999: Houston O-line
999,999,999 Seahawks O-line.

by big10freak :: Mon, 09/11/2017 - 9:53am

The Seattle d-line is one of the best if not THE best in the league. I don't know anyone in GB who forecast a clean jersey for Rodgers in this game. Tretter was absolutely manhandled by PIttsburgh yesterday while Linsley was just fine at center.

Taylor was also solid (he replaced Sitton). The issues on the line were right tackle with Murphy filling in for Bulaga who was out with injury and Evans replacing Lang. Evans was beaten several times yesterday while Murphy struggled in the first half and then did just fine in the second half.

Lang was coming off a serious injury and wanted (and had earned) a big raise. Sitton also wanted a big pay bump. With Ted Thompson once you hit 30 years old you had better fill a very special need or he is going to look for a replacement.

by gmoney_714 :: Wed, 09/13/2017 - 6:17pm

The Seattle offense was cover your eyes awful, but the officiating was WORSE. In addition to the two questionable calls erasing pick 6, there were numerous no calls. The PI not called on the pass to JG88 at the end of the 2nd quarter was particularly egregious.

by Arkaein :: Mon, 09/11/2017 - 9:57am

Disagree that Packers O-line played that bad.

They struggled to open up holes in the run game, but the pass blocking was quite good, especially considering that starting RT Bryan Bulaga didn't play. I was getting a bit frustrated early on that Rodgers decided he could scramble forever, which he often gets away with, but is a bad idea against Seattle and with a 6th round, 2nd year player making his first start at tackle.

Of the 4 first half sacks, I'd say at most 1 was really on the O-line.

Also, JC Tretter would not have been the Packers starter. He has started games for GB, but lost his job when he got injured and Corey Linsley took over (though Tretter has filled in for Linsley when he has been injured).

by James-London :: Mon, 09/11/2017 - 10:10am

I may be being harsh on Green Bay, as that Seattle Defense is terrifying, and they'll kill worse teams (I assume practice in Seattle is non-contact, as no deaths have been reported), but GB had the best pass-blocking guards in the league and both have gone, so I stand by that part of my comment.

And your QB's really, really good...

Phil Simms is a Cretin.

by Arkaein :: Mon, 09/11/2017 - 10:42am

Your right that GB's o-line is not quite as good as it was a few years ago with Sitton and Lang, that line was awesome.

And Rodgers is really good, but the one legit flaw in his game is that he will hold the ball and take more sacks than some other QBs. It often works out by turning into big plays, so it's a tradeoff, but it's something that has to be considered any time you look at sack counts and use it to evaluate O-line play.

I think that once Bulaga is back and GB is playing teams other than Seattle, GB's offense will look like one of the best in the league, possibly the best. Meanwhile I expect Seattle's D to look dominant in their own right against most other teams.

by ChrisS :: Mon, 09/11/2017 - 12:13pm

I did not watch the game very closely, but in the first half GB's OL was dominated by Seattle. In the second half the OL played better and may have outplayed Seattle's DL.

by Sakic :: Mon, 09/11/2017 - 10:19am

Yeah, Seattle's defensive line with addition of Richardson is really, really solid so I was expecting them to give the Packers o-line problems especially with Earl Thomas back patrolling the middle of the field and stalling the longer, downfield developing routes.

I have to admit I was pleasantly surprised to see McCarthy and Rodgers alter their gameplan in the second half by going away from trying to force the ball downfield to going with the shorter mid-range passes...my biggest complaint about Rodgers is how long he holds the ball especially when there are guys open underneath so it was nice for him to realize to take what the defense was giving him. And I loved the play to seal the game away...great play call at a great time.

Also, I knew Seattle's O Line was bad but I didn't realize it was that bad. It's a good thing Wilson is a scrambler because he is going to be running for his life all season unless they get that fixed.

by big10freak :: Mon, 09/11/2017 - 9:50am

I want to credit Vince for recognizing what so many failed to see is that Lane was driving his forearm into Adams' throat with Adams in a helpless position. I totally acknowledge that Adams started the fracas and should have been penalized. But Lane's response was incredibly dangerous. A linebacker from Ohio State was suspended a game about 10 years ago for this type of incident and if the Big10 took that level of action it's not hard to see a NFL player being ejected.

That someone could see that situation and gripe about Lane being penalized is just weird. Especially in this day of player safety being a priority.

by LyleNM :: Mon, 09/11/2017 - 12:21pm

Either they both are ejected or neither are ejected. Adams throwing Lane around by his face mask was likely more dangerous than Lane's response. That Adams was neither flagged nor ejected was incompetent officiating.

by dbostedo :: Mon, 09/11/2017 - 4:06pm

I think you should watch it again... there wasn't anything dangerous about what Lane did. Didn't even really contact his throat, and there's no way that's what the ref was calling based on what he said.

The only video I can find :

The text of that article says he forearms Adams' chest.

by Dan :: Mon, 09/11/2017 - 6:51pm

Looked to me like his elbow was on Adams's chest and his forearm was angled towards Adams's shoulder. It was all on Adams's pads, not directly on his body.

by sbond101 :: Mon, 09/11/2017 - 9:52am

It's been a while since a game I was interested in wasn't covered here. Did anyone else watch the Jet's pick off the Bills in the end-zone, fumble and lose the ball on the return, and then miraculously retain the ball because the returner was ruled down by contact after running into his own man and falling down (and therefore the fumble didn't count).

by Raiderjoe :: Mon, 09/11/2017 - 11:02am

as due to them being local, i see all jets and gaitns action alogn with Raiders and whatever else i deem worth watching.

J,. Burris intercept pass in end zone. could have been 106 or so yard touchdown but e. wood BUff C was being blocked by jet defender and this caused the guy to fall into burris' path and Burris fell down. Burris tried to get up but wood touched him while knee was down. Then D. Lee LB NYJ laid dirty bhit on E. Wood. Lee was retaliating for what he thoygght was dirty hit by Wood on Burris. Saw the play several times. Believe officials called it 100% correctly. Burris was down where officials put him down amnd Jets got deserved 15 yard penalty for Lee's action

by Led :: Mon, 09/11/2017 - 11:19am

That's how I saw it, too, although the contact by Wood was just barely there. The play was very close to a "butt tackle," god help us.

The game was interesting if only to the answer the question (which I'm sure was burning on everybody's mind) "what if you stick two garbage ILB into an otherwise halfway decent defense." I've never seen worse than Darron Lee and Demario Davis yesterday. They guessed the wrong holes, they ran around blocks, and they missed tackles even when they were in position. Fortunately for the Jets, their DL wins a lot so they had a bunch of stuffs and failed runs. But when they didn't, it was off the races for Shady and Tolbert ("races" as to Tolbert requires a little poetic license). And both ILB were completely lost in coverage. Clay and Shady are tough covers, but still.

Also, watching Matt Forte run reminded me of the quaaludes scenes in Wolf of Wall Street. Man, when a RB hits the age wall, it gets ugly quick.

by MilkmanDanimal :: Mon, 09/11/2017 - 12:01pm

Forte might still be capable on a different offense, but it kind of feels like with the combination of Josh McCown and the Jets "receivers" that every Jets RB is going to face at minimum nine men in the box, because it's not like anyone's scared of a passing game.

by sbond101 :: Mon, 09/11/2017 - 11:58am

Appreciate the perspective. Obviously I though Burris was up by the time Wood put the hit on him, but I really only saw it live (my one year old really limits my reply-watching time). I'll have to look at it again.

by Raiderjoe :: Mon, 09/11/2017 - 12:06pm

Yes, iit was very close. Very tough to tell live. My instant thinking was Burris was off the ground. but the way I saw replays Wood just about touched Burris whiel Burris's knee was still down.

by mehllageman56 :: Mon, 09/11/2017 - 2:22pm

Yes, that play had the potential to sum up this Jets season already. I remember watching the end of an embarrassing Raiders/Jets game before Parcells, where the ball bounced off Cherbet into the Raiders defender who ran it back for a touchdown. I couldn't stop laughing. It really disconcerted everyone in the bar where I was watching.

There should be more audibles about the Jets games this year, because the possibility for comedy is almost unimaginable. People will think it's a horror show, but really it's Evil Dead 2: Dead by September.

by RickD :: Mon, 09/11/2017 - 9:55am

I'm reluctant to jump to conclusions about how good teams may be after one week, but less so when it comes to really poor performances.
The Colts and Texans looked terrible. The Texans may be able to rebuild their offense around Watson (who is legitimately exciting), but I agree with the people wondering why Savage was given this start.
The Colts just looked bad in every conceivable way.

by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Mon, 09/11/2017 - 11:20am

This appears to be a repeat of the 2011 Colts. The 2010 Colts were bad team being dragged to the playoffs by Peyton Manning. The 2012-2014 Colts were also a bad, poorly-coached team (except the brief interim tenure of Bruce Arians) being dragged to the playoffs by Andrew Luck.

This is why I get annoyed by pundits and fans criticizing Luck. Yes, his play has dropped off in 2015-16. That's because he's been taking too many hits in an outdated offense, and taking too many risks trying to overcome the shortcomings of his offensive teammates and the Colts defense.

by Rocco :: Mon, 09/11/2017 - 11:23am

Not to infringe on Will Allen's territory but this is why Luck really should have tried to force a trade instead of signing the big extension with a team that couldn't put together a quality team when Luck was generating tons of surplus value.

by billprudden :: Mon, 09/11/2017 - 11:39am

Sir -

Not to enable your hijacking, but you make a great point. Upon Luck's return to something like health, could there be a better time to force one's way out of Indy? Whether it is pre-Oct. trade deadline or in Feb.?


by dmstorm22 :: Mon, 09/11/2017 - 11:40am

I mean, he did just sign a massive contract in the offseason.

He could try to do it, but would likely get hammered for it.

by Will Allen :: Mon, 09/11/2017 - 1:18pm

I wish he had refused to report, or even discuss a new deal.

by panthersnbraves :: Mon, 09/11/2017 - 10:25am

The comments on Cam Newton seemed to more or less stop after the First Half (13-0 score is referenced). In the Second Half he was 6/6 for 66. It would seem that once he started getting the rust knocked off, he started getting his touch back a bit. Of course, the question will be if that continues next week or not.

by dmstorm22 :: Mon, 09/11/2017 - 11:17am

I watched very little of this game, but to me it looked like a combination of rust, normal deeper-than-average routes by Carolina, and the usual WR and OL issues that they are good enough as a unit to overcome.

That defense looked fantastic. Granted, SF is awful, but I expected them to limit SF to under 10 and it happened easily.

by zenbitz :: Mon, 09/11/2017 - 12:05pm

I am not sure where on the NYG-SEA richter scale the 49ers OL falls -- the tackles seem fine, but the interior is garbage. They also shot themselves in the foot with a bunch of penalties.

by zenbitz :: Mon, 09/11/2017 - 12:03pm

yeah he was out of whack in the first half but hit his passes in the second. Of course the 49ers defense was completely gassed and playing down a couple starters (which given their depth is pretty serious).

by drobviousso :: Mon, 09/11/2017 - 10:32am

Steelers / Browns reactions:
For his first game, I thought Kisner played well... but too many sacks makes me worried. I yearn for the Browns to not be horrible.

Either the Steeler's O line has really regressed, or the Browns front 7 is very good. Hard to say which.

Steelers - Still playing down to the level of their competition.

Giants / Cowbosy reactions:
Barf. It feels like the Giants need to move on from Eli, but who knows with that line in front of him.

by Tomlin_Is_Infallible :: Mon, 09/11/2017 - 1:55pm

>Steelers - Still playing down to the level of their competition.

I've been assured here that this never happens, and that even if it does, it's not the coach's fault. If you think otherwise, you're a racist!

The standard is the standard!

by The Ninjalectual :: Mon, 09/11/2017 - 3:51pm

What is this comment supposed to contribute to the discussion? Tomlin_is_infalliable is the Mallard Fillmore of the comments. I guess that makes Raiderjoe the Far Side?

Back on-topic: my brain gives me error messages when I try imagining the Giants moving on from Manning. They'll let him struggle for as long as he cares to stick around, which also sums up his career well

by TomC :: Mon, 09/11/2017 - 6:21pm

I will go beyond "what does it contribute?" to assert that it is actively toxic, and I for one would prefer never to hear the like of it again.

by SFC B :: Tue, 09/12/2017 - 9:13am

The racially impartial man doth protest too much methinks.

I'm sure your dislike of Tomlin is fully predicated on nothing but his performance. You know, one of the winningest coaches ever, never had a losing season, led his team to the playoffs 7 times on 10 years, and has won a Super Bowl. Honestly, the man deserves nothing but ire and should be run out of town by a mob for that performance. I'm sure you have some tiki torches you could supply to the mob so they can have a truly Simpsons Movie-esque feel.

by coltrane23 :: Mon, 09/11/2017 - 10:40am

Rooting for the Seahawks yesterday, particularly the defense, was death by a thousand paper cuts. That poor defense got sold out by a terrible offensive line performance, and they still held Rodgers & Co. to 17 points (really, 7 of those points should be hung on the Seahawks' offensive line).

It's a long season, and they can improve each week, but by far the Packers aren't going to be the best defensive line they face all season so they'd best figure out how to improve quickly.

by ChrisLong :: Mon, 09/11/2017 - 10:43am

I guess I don't see the Packers OL as having performed that poorly. This was the best front 7 in the league, and probably the best defense overall, and they were missing Bulaga, their second-best offensive lineman. Many of the sacks and pressures were created by Rodgers's tendencies to look for the big play and scramble around back there, which is much more difficult to do against the Seahawks than anyone else in the league. They weren't perfect, but if they had been that would've been astounding.

by big10freak :: Mon, 09/11/2017 - 11:08am

Yup. Packer fans still fume about Sitton being released but Taylor was solid last season and held his own yesterday. It's just weird that even posters as shown above are adamant that Sitton would be better when there is no evidence of a significant gap. Do I think Josh Sitton is a better guard than Lane TAylor? Absolutely. Sitton is also over 30 years of age, has a history of back problems and gets paid more money. And Taylor has the chance of getting better given his age and the benefit of more playing time.

The downgrade from Lang to Evans was very evident yesterday. One expects better games from Evans but the Packers will be quick to give someone else a try if the performance isn't there.

What should be noticed is that when Bulaga couldn't play the team did not turn to second round pick of 2016 Jason Spriggs but instead sixth round pick Murphy. Murphy has clearly improved from last season. Spriggs had a terrible camp and doesn't look to have adjusted at all to the pro game.

by justanothersteve :: Mon, 09/11/2017 - 2:06pm

Taylor has more than adequately replaced Sitten. Dropping from great but often injured to somewhere between good and very good is pretty much a wash. Evans had problems yesterday and Murphy was overwhelmed, but I expect Seattle to make a lot of O lines to look bad. Russell Wilson should be eternally grateful he only has to face them in practice. The Seattle O line is going to get Wilson killed.

by rj1 :: Mon, 09/11/2017 - 11:22am

4 out of 12 losing teams don't score a touchdown.
6 out of 12 losing teams don't score 10 points.

Don't think Quick Reads will have a lot of nice things to say about the QBs midfield on down this week.

by dmstorm22 :: Mon, 09/11/2017 - 11:33am

It's been just 13 games, but right now teams have averaged 308 yards and 19.7 points. League-wide QB rating is 81.2. Basically, Week 1 was like an NFL week from 1995.

It was just one week, but I do wonder, did something drive this? This was one of the most defense-heavy weeks in years (with two good defenses, MIN and DEN, left to play).

Were officials not calling IC/DH/DPI as much? Definitely noticed a lot of DB contact getting uncalled in the SEA@GB game.

Maybe more offensive holding?

Maybe it is just one bad week, but to me it was fairly stark yesterday.

by Will Allen :: Mon, 09/11/2017 - 11:45am

See my post below.

by dmstorm22 :: Mon, 09/11/2017 - 11:50am

I agree with your point on how bad OL play is right now, but it wasn't that much better last year.

I'll wait a few weeks to see if the low-scoring and low-offense holds, but I think it is more than just bad OL play (or bad QBs - there's always been bad QBs starting in the NFL).

by Will Allen :: Mon, 09/11/2017 - 12:20pm

I heard Jeff Saturday this AM on the radio, and his comments rang true for what my layman's eyes see; there is just a widespread failure in fundamental technique that has seemed to get worse in each of the last few years, and that should not occur among men who are getting paid to get it right. To me, it is making games a lot less enjoyable to watch.

by dmstorm22 :: Mon, 09/11/2017 - 12:29pm

In a weird way, I kind of like it. I was really getting annoyed at watching a league where everyone throws for 300 yards, and scores 30+ each week, where basically all a QB had to do to throw for 4,000 yards was stay healthy for 16 games.

This might be too far in the other way, but the only way for defenses to counter was to get better upfront.

Sure, the Seattle OL is garbage, but watching that Packers front eat them alive was fun. I actually found that game to be really good (much like I found last year's 6-6 tie between SEA and ARZ to be good as well).

by Will Allen :: Mon, 09/11/2017 - 12:36pm

A low scoring game because guys are allowed to cover is great; I've long advocated that legal contact with receivers be expanded to 10 yards. A low scoring game hecause there is no technique or teamwork among offensive linemen is dreadful.

by big10freak :: Mon, 09/11/2017 - 12:34pm

One of the immediate byproducts of this issue is that refs are put in the untenable position of A) slowing down the game significantly by calling obvious holds which is the only blocking method these untrained linemen can execute with any consistency or proficiency or B) looking past most holds and trying to distinguish which obvious holds actually influence the play in an immediate way which of course they fail at regularly

by Will Allen :: Mon, 09/11/2017 - 12:40pm

Yeah it just emphasizes another kind of randomness in the contest; when the flags are thrown or not thrown, and it is a very uninteresting kind of randomness at that.

by deus01 :: Mon, 09/11/2017 - 1:38pm

Wasn't one of the focuses for refs a year or so ago to call offensive holding? Maybe the OL used to get away with a lot more holding and now are somewhat prevented from doing that which is leading to worse play league-wide.

by The Ninjalectual :: Mon, 09/11/2017 - 3:59pm

Different ref crews call different things at different rates: some crews really crack down on certain things, others call the same things loosely.

I know that every smart team tracks these tendencies, to identify opportunities to exploit. Does the league track this stuff too, as part of a crew's performance reviews? It would be stupid of them not to, but the results (crew to crew disparity remaining high) suggests they don't.

by MilkmanDanimal :: Mon, 09/11/2017 - 11:35am

Just want to mention Audibles is one of my favorite parts of football season between the analysis, banter, and posts by FO readers. Always fun.

At one point yesterday Josh McCown was 16/22 for 112 yards. That was some impressive checkdowning. So, so, so bad.

Watched a bunch of Browns-Steelers to see Kizer, and, while he needs to learn to get rid of the ball, he wasn't a train wreck and had some poise. I mean, for the Browns, that's pretty good, right?

by Raiderjoe :: Mon, 09/11/2017 - 12:08pm

eys Audibles is 1976 Raiders of Football Outsiders thread.s
Have considered printn g them and making binder but don't want to risk getting caught "wasting paper" at work and don't wan t to spend five bucks or so printing at library. (I don't have printer at ghome to use)

by jw124164 :: Mon, 09/11/2017 - 11:40am

Routes to the sticks please! In Chicago, Atlanta had a 3rd and 10 deep in Chi territory. Sarkisian calls .. a 5 yarder to Julio, well covered but he caught it anyways. Turned a 42-yard FG to a 37 yarder.

by Will Allen :: Mon, 09/11/2017 - 11:42am

Look, I understand that there is a tendency by fans to overstate how awful their favorie team's o-line is, but fer' the luv' of Jim Parker, and to paraphrase Casey Stengal from another sport, can't anybody block in this game? There oughta' be a goldarned war crime tribunal for what o-lines are doing in a large number of these games, and the only thing worse than a gm who never invests in o-linemen, is a gm, like in Maraville, who does, and still can't get anybody to impede a defender. Good freakin'grief. I don't wven think there is rules tweak that could possibly fix this; the colleges are obviously running offenses that don't produce linemen ready to attack the athleticism of NFL defenses, although the practice restrictions the NFLPA won probably hurts the o-line more than any other unit.

Ranting on another topic, I'm still annoyed as hell that Luck signed that contract with the Colts. As a football fan, I woulda'loved to see him force his way out of Little Jimmy Irsay's House of Horrors.

by James-London :: Mon, 09/11/2017 - 11:56am

+1 to both parts of this

Watching Luck ruined by the Colts is going to be very sad.

Phil Simms is a Cretin.

by ChrisLong :: Mon, 09/11/2017 - 12:13pm

Anyone know whether offensive lines tend to start more slowly than defensive lines? If we follow the logic that offensive lines take at least somewhat more unit cohesion to pull off good play than defense does, then might we expect offenses to always be worse in Week 1? A pass rusher just needs to rush the passer (obviously simplifying this a bit) but pass protection requires much more group coordination.

by dmstorm22 :: Mon, 09/11/2017 - 12:17pm

Generally no. In recent years offenses start out really well and slow down over the course of the season - which makes sense given the weather changes.

by Will Allen :: Mon, 09/11/2017 - 12:25pm

It's not quite as bad as early 70s Saints with Archie Manning, but it's still really bad.

by Bright Blue Shorts :: Mon, 09/11/2017 - 12:55pm

Got the sense from the Howard Mudd interview/articles when he released his book a couple of years ago that there is too much BS going on in coaching of players.

To paraphrase him, he said that when he coached o-linemen he would just say "THIS is how you do it" and accept no alternatives.

If you consider that the Patriots o-line struggled when Scarnecchia retired for a couple of years, then perhaps it's as much about that as the other points you correctly make about college offenses and practice time restrictions.

by Will Allen :: Mon, 09/11/2017 - 1:04pm

Saturday was talking today about seeing zone blocking plays where guys very frequently can't all get their hats on the correct side of the defender! This is very, very, basic stuff!

by big10freak :: Mon, 09/11/2017 - 1:10pm

No surprise that WI o-linemen are drafted regularly with Wisco one of the few major college teams that emphasize the run

by Will Allen :: Mon, 09/11/2017 - 1:15pm

It's why I watch most Badgers games; you get to see young, very big, guys who have the athleticism and coaching to execute properly.

by MilkmanDanimal :: Mon, 09/11/2017 - 1:23pm

There was an article I think on FO some months ago talking about what position groups had a solid track record based on college conference, and the Big Ten in general was excellent at producing offensive linemen. As a former Iowa resident who retains vague rooting interests for the school, it's pretty much what Iowa is known for. Lots of guys from Wisconsin, Michigan, and Ohio State as well, plus other Big Ten schools.

by big10freak :: Mon, 09/11/2017 - 1:32pm

Kirk can coach linemen (both offense and defense) that is for certain.

by Yu Narukami :: Mon, 09/11/2017 - 1:35pm

There is a similar analysis in FOA2017 (more focused on not-Power5 WRs but then expands on all position).

by mehllageman56 :: Mon, 09/11/2017 - 2:15pm

I might add, the Jets actually pass blocked fine this week. Really surprising, given how bad they seemed in preseason. Perhaps they can just send Carpenter back to Seattle for a second rounder, since the goal in New York is worst record, and the Colts really want to challenge that. Hopefully the Colts luck into a victory sooner or later.

by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Mon, 09/11/2017 - 3:26pm

Speaking of surprisingly non-terrible pass blocking, former Rams left turnstile Greg Robinson lined up against Chandler Jones, and managed to not get Stafford murdered. I haven't watched the game replay yet to see if they had to give him a lot of help or not, but it was an encouraging, nonetheless.

by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Mon, 09/11/2017 - 11:46am

Seattle should sign Kaepernick.

And have him start on the offensive line.

by Will Allen :: Mon, 09/11/2017 - 11:49am

I think whoever was across from Daniels yesterday was kneeling.

by big10freak :: Mon, 09/11/2017 - 12:49pm

Praying for help or to be someplace else prior to the ball being snapped?

by Will Allen :: Mon, 09/11/2017 - 1:11pm

Hell, the Seahawk guards couldn't even get into position to execute proper technique for the proverbial LOOK OUT! block.

by big10freak :: Mon, 09/11/2017 - 1:17pm

I am no longer amazed that Marshall Newhouse remains in the league. Newhouse was a horrible left tackle in GB. He undermined the entire 2011 season. But seeing the quality of line play Newhouse is not the worst relative to the league. He's just below average.

by Will Allen :: Mon, 09/11/2017 - 1:25pm

I used to think that a guy with a large number of starts couldn't be worse than Charlie Johnson, who threatened the careers of two certain HOFers, Peyton Manning and Adrian Peterson. I was wrong.

by justanothersteve :: Mon, 09/11/2017 - 2:29pm

It's not just Newhouse who has somehow managed a career as a former Packers O line turnstile. Breno Giacomini and Allen Barbre have also been starters for other teams after sucking for Green Bay. They may have looked bad for the Packers, but they probably got the fundamentals down to still be able to contribute somewhere. They've also let Jason Spitz, Daryn Colledge, and JC Tretter leave for other teams. I think James Campen, the Packers OL coach, is one of the most underrated assistant coaches in the NFL. He developed Sitten, Lang, and Bakhtiari into Pro Bowl talents. Considering the Packers rarely use a high draft pick for their O line, I'd say this is amazing.

by jriegel@gmail.com :: Mon, 09/11/2017 - 12:47pm

Colts-Rams was the first scorigami in over a year! (credit to @jon_bois for the word 'scorigami': https://twitter.com/jon_bois/status/907036050308190209 ). in other words: it was the first 46-9 game in NFL history.

by The Ninjalectual :: Mon, 09/11/2017 - 4:09pm

I just looked this word up. It's an interesting idea, but what a stupid name for it! Why is it named after the Japanese wrt of folding paper?

by Grendel13G :: Mon, 09/11/2017 - 6:40pm

Oh man, this is great stuff!

by theslothook :: Mon, 09/11/2017 - 1:17pm

As a colts fan...as soon as I saw the Tolzien interception, I serenely switched the game off and moved onto to Sea - GB. So glad I saved myself a wasted 3 hrs.

I get kind of numb to Seahawk fans griping about their o line...but that was one of the worst o line performances I have ever seen. It was reminiscent of the Chargers o line meltdowns from a couple of years ago - but they had at least had the excuse of playing 4th stringers/waiver wire trash because of injuries. This was week 1!

One theory - as more and more teams have transitioned to short passing and screens - it means less running the football and less blocking technique for medium and deeper throws. Maybe the lack of reps for those harder routes to block for has led to this deluge of sloppy technique. I mean - the o line still makes a lot of money and people still spend a lot of draft capital on it so its not gone the way of the fullback or anything.

by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Mon, 09/11/2017 - 1:34pm

It was shockingly bad.

I'll drop a comment that's rarely dropped -- I've never seen the Lions that bad. And they flat out tried to murder Eric Hipple.

by theslothook :: Mon, 09/11/2017 - 1:20pm

Extra word on the Seahawks. I believe offensive lines are generally overrated to build on, because unless they are really special - you can compensate for them pretty effectively. That said, when it gets into a particular level of incompetence, the entire offense shuts down. I saw this with San Diego back when Rivers was much younger and the receivers were much better.

The seahawks...i don't know where they go here. Barring a massive upswing, this o line will be a permanent neckweight that I just can't see them getting past. Wilson will get hurt at some point and you can't rely on heroics every game to win - nor can you expect your defense to stay healthy and effective executing 60+ plays a game.

by Will Allen :: Mon, 09/11/2017 - 1:33pm

Really remarkable what Wade Phillips' gang was able to accomplish two seasons ago.

by ChrisLong :: Mon, 09/11/2017 - 1:40pm

OK, so offensive line play is down in the dumps. What's the solution?

More hitting and practicing in the offseason? Don't see the players union being all about that, and really the league probably wouldn't be either given its current perception problems.

by theslothook :: Mon, 09/11/2017 - 1:48pm

See my comment above suggesting this may be a byproduct of a leaguewide move to short passing - although NE, the real inventor of this, hasn't suffered this malady.

by ChrisLong :: Mon, 09/11/2017 - 3:07pm

Which came first though, general inability of a lineman to hold a pass block for more than 1.5 seconds or the move to short passing? I feel like the cause and effect have been reversed here.

by theslothook :: Mon, 09/11/2017 - 3:36pm

Hmm, yeah we don't know which direction it runs. My hunch(all it is) is its the former.

by dank067 :: Mon, 09/11/2017 - 3:52pm

I would guess that scheme changes are more responsible—and that it's the college game that's really driving the issue. Plays like WR screens, run-pass options and pre-determined reads where the ball is out right away have become the staple passing plays in so many college offenses. Plus lots of high-tempo offenses that are keeping defenses on their heels and tiring them out, not allowing them to substitute, etc. Offensive linemen are rarely asked to sustain pass blocks in that environment, and thus aren't getting enough live reps needed to develop those skills.

by Bright Blue Shorts :: Mon, 09/11/2017 - 4:36pm

I did a basic study of sack totals in 2004 and there was a decline in sacks. It was looking less and less likely that anyone would beat Gastineau/Strahan/White type numbers anymore.

Around the same time though, 4,000yd passers were a rarity. I think in 2005 it was two people. By 2012 it was something like 12-14 QBs achieving 4,000 yd season including Josh Freeman.

Maybe the empty backfields and de-emphasised feature RBs has helped sack totals. That along with hybrid defenses and more pass-catching TEs.

by theslothook :: Mon, 09/11/2017 - 4:51pm

Pressure rate has also been remarkably stable or even slightly trending down. Unless you believe the league qbs are better at avoiding pressure today than in the past(I don't), it suggests to me that o line deterioration is being offset by play calling and better receivers.

Remember the old days where if you felt your o line couldn't block, you brought in the big boys and played max protect? Today, the better strategy is to empty everything and get the ball out quick.

by Bright Blue Shorts :: Mon, 09/11/2017 - 1:49pm

Alternative question ... what are the Cowboys (maybe the Raiders also) doing that has made them effective on the o-line?

by Will Allen :: Mon, 09/11/2017 - 1:58pm

They both devoted very substantial draft/free agent capital to the unit, and ulike the Giants, the used the capital wisely. The Patriots, like in a lot of areas, seem to have the best approach. They devote significant draft capital to the unit, and really, really, teach well.

by MilkmanDanimal :: Mon, 09/11/2017 - 2:20pm

There's also clearly a lot of dependence between QB play and offensive line play, and Brady has the intelligence and release to simply make those offensive linemen good by not putting himself in situations where a mistake by the lineman cascades down to a pressure or sack. Same thing Peyton was able to do, or Cam and Russell Wilson to a certain extent in more recent years.

Some QBs aren't quite as successful with bad support from an offensive line. Like, say, Andy Dalton yesterday.

by Will Allen :: Mon, 09/11/2017 - 2:40pm

I'll say again that Sam Bradford was really good last year, given the utter disaster in front of him. No, it wasn't Peyton Manning in 2010, but it was still impressive.

by Will Allen :: Mon, 09/11/2017 - 1:58pm

They both devoted very substantial draft/free agent capital to the unit, and ulike the Giants, the used the capital wisely. The Patriots, like in a lot of areas, seem to have the best approach. They devote significant draft capital to the unit, and really, really, teach well.

by ChrisLong :: Mon, 09/11/2017 - 3:19pm

The Colts have devoted just as much draft capital to their OL as the Pats have, if not more. Castonzo and Kelly are both first round picks, and they have a couple other high draft picks on the roster. Scarnecchia is a great coach, or at least that seems to be his reputation (hard for to me actually evaluate coaching aside from my observations of the skill of the players, which of course is all sorts of confounded with other factors).

I don't think teams are spending any less draft capital on offensive lineman. Maybe the coaching is worse but that's hard to truly evaluate. It would be fascinating to get an idea of how much certain teams spend on what techniques or drills, because as has been suggested, some teams are just obviously better at developing OL talent than others.

by Will Allen :: Mon, 09/11/2017 - 3:32pm

There are teams, like the Vikings, which just have devoted very little draft or free agent capital to the oline. In 10 years, the Vikings have used 1 first, 1 second, and 1 third on the unit, without free agent signing that included a large commitment. Over that time, a unit that was once a source strength became a disaster area.

by ChrisLong :: Mon, 09/11/2017 - 3:41pm

I guess I meant that, on the whole, the league isn't spending less capital on offensive line like they are on running backs or run-stopping linebackers. Of course some teams spend less resources than others on the offensive line. But it seems that people are saying (and I would agree) that line play across the league is declining, but if teams aren't spending less capital on it overall, why is offensive line play worse?

by Will Allen :: Mon, 09/11/2017 - 4:01pm

The factor that I believe plays the largest role is that college offenses have developed in a way which results in o-linemen not developing technique which is needed at the NFL level.

by mehllageman56 :: Mon, 09/11/2017 - 2:03pm

Drafting and signing good players. Good o-line coaches, I think (I'll have to check on that though). The Cowboys started drafting offensive line early in the waning years of Romo, and now that they have a mid round qb, they can spend on that as well. The Raiders could spend on the line because they hit on Carr, and didn't have to pay him much until now.

Another thing is that it seems the interior D-line prospects have never been stronger. Wonder if a lot of potential offensive line prospects end up on the defensive line in high school and college.

Thought next years draft prospects would be good, but Mike McGlinchey had a train wreck game against Georgia, making me embarrassed for a comment on another post. Not sure how Trey Adams did. At least the quarterbacks for next year seem to doing well, except for Josh Allen.

by Joseph :: Mon, 09/11/2017 - 2:02pm

That is my theory--O-line play depends upon contact. If they can't practice it as much in the offseason, then there is less time to teach technique, review film, etc. Consequently, the "ok" lines of 10 years ago look like what is being observed now. College spread systems don't help, either.

by mrt1212 :: Mon, 09/11/2017 - 1:54pm

Seahawks fan here

It strikes me as odd that Bevell and Co seem to never actualize what players they have across the board to the point that inadvertent QB draws were our best running plays. To the point that they won't actually change their behavior until situation dictates must score drives. To the point that their standard SOP results in all the downsides of an uptempo offense with none of the gains.

Bevell has coached this offense for 7 years and seemingly starts at square one each season with knowing his player aptitudes.

After last year's showing in Tampa Bay, the dude needs to engage the situations a bit more proactively. He should always have a plan B at the ready if the O line is stepping on its dick repeatedly and go with plan B full bore. When there's something like a 10 pt lead established maybe the Hawks can go more ball control. But it seems like the offense does what it does unless it is obvious the game could get out of reach.

by big10freak :: Mon, 09/11/2017 - 2:15pm

Even the very best organizations have their gaps in player development. The Seahawks seem to be able to turn just about any player drafted for the secondary into an above average player. Meanwhile, they don't know step 1 on generating good line play.

The Pats, if you believe the fans, are hopeless in drafting and developing wide receivers.

The Packers can find wide receivers and offensive linemen seemingly at will but stumble nonstop on d-linemen and linebackers.

by Tomlin_Is_Infallible :: Mon, 09/11/2017 - 1:58pm

I won't beat the Tomlin sucks, Steelers play down to bad teams drum again, at least for now. Even the most die hard apologists will have no excuse for the shitshow this week.

With that said, the Steelers are either playing a bunch of guys through minor injuries, intentionally played a very very vanilla gameplan thinking it would win, or- quite simply- will be a terrible team this year if that is all they could muster.

Without the blocked punt/TD, they would have lost this game. To a Browns team with a rookie QB and missing its best pass rusher. Let that sink in.

The standard is the standard!

by theslothook :: Mon, 09/11/2017 - 2:02pm

Imagine if you were a colts fan this week

by mehllageman56 :: Mon, 09/11/2017 - 2:09pm

The Browns are probably a lot better than people are giving them credit for. Kizer played in a pressure cooker and was sabotaged by his college coach, so chances are he was underrated coming out. I think the Browns are out of the Darnold sweepstakes, but they may have found their guy. Overall, I'd think the Niners and Jets are way worse right now; the Colts without Luck are leading the pack to the top of the draft right now, but Luck coming back would probably change that. Houston didn't look good yesterday, and neither did the Giants.

By the way, congratulations on your team drafting Watt. I thought he'd be good, so I feel vicariously vindicated. It's all I have right now as a Jets fan, so please let me have it.

by herewegobrownie... :: Mon, 09/11/2017 - 11:06pm

The timing of the Browns' "moneyball" strategy, of stripping the roster of empty-win vets like Donte Whitner, all the way to the 1-15 bone last year, just might work out because the players might develop just in time to achieve sustained success when the AFC becomes wide open, as Brady and Roethlisberger reach retirement.

Same thing with your guys this season - who were by some oddsmakers 10-point underdogs against the Brownies in a few weeks.

In much the same way in the NBA, the 76ers' plan figures to have the team hit its stride right as LeBron retires/moves West and - one can hope - the Warriors' run ends; teams like Milwaukee and Minnesota that never went full-tank in that way are already in that position.

by theslothook :: Mon, 09/11/2017 - 11:22pm

I worry, however, that this strategy becomes a league wide approach. What if instead of one team blatantly tanking - you end up like the nba - a third of the league actively throwing in the towel. Look at next year-- if the jaguars decide to move on from bortles, the redskins from cousins, the cardinals, the 49ers, the chargers from rivers, bills, jets, and browns...those are all teams that could legitimately start tanking to get a higher draft pick...ie cutting all veterans except some proven bad qb.

That's bad for the league.

by mehllageman56 :: Tue, 09/12/2017 - 12:34am

The Browns won't be tanking by next year; either Kizer is their guy, or they draft their guy next year. They have a ton of cap room for next year, as do the Jets and the Niners, who will also probably draft quarterbacks early. The Browns and the Jaguars already don't seem that bad. The other thing to consider is the cash spending rule.

The 89% rule does not apply to a single season, but rather a span of four years. Therefore, it doesn't matter that the Browns spent less than 89% in 2013, or if they spent less than 89% in 2014. By the end of the 2016 season, though, the cumulative spending from 2013-2016 must be at least 89%. Therefore, if the Browns spent very little in 2013 and 2014, in order to meet the requirement in 2016, they would have been basically forced to spend a lot of money in 2015 and 2016. (Taken from Dawgs by Nature website.)

This rule was the reason the Jets spent so much in the 2015 off-season; Idzik barely spent anything the two years prior, and the year before the Jets were up against the cap. The penalty for not spending to the floor is rather weak, though; the team has to give the difference to its own players. If teams start tanking more, the NFL could beef up the consequences; the NFLPA would probably like that.

by mehllageman56 :: Tue, 09/12/2017 - 12:36am

The other issue is, you need someone to trade with, if you are tanking. If a third of the league is trying to trade their stars, then teams like the Bills and Jets won't be getting good draft picks for their players. They'll hang on to them, and try to get a compensatory pick instead.

by herewegobrownie... :: Tue, 09/12/2017 - 11:57pm

76ers-style tanking is much harder to reap benefits from in the NFL due to the larger number of players, shorter job security for more important front office/management roles - coaches are much less important in the NBA - and the lower value of free agency.

All but a handful of coastal NBA markets have to build through the draft and hope for a one-in-a-thousand exception of LeBron wanting to come back to his hometown when unrestricted free agency hits - and we all remember "taking his talents to South Beach" in his first free agency, which generally occurs right in the middle of stars' primes.

The irony is that when a team like the Warriors did have to "tank" - in 2012, they had a pick that was protected, and had to finish 8th worst or below for it to not be traded - they ended up with the unimpressive Harrison Barnes, whereas their 2nd round got them Draymond Green. However, NBA drafts tend to be much more top-heavy in talent than NFL drafts.

It will be intriguing to see how the NBA handles lottery reform - they are trying to get it through before the season - the system is designed to reduce "tanking," but arguably has only gotten worse and worse.

by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Mon, 09/11/2017 - 3:36pm

Just win, baby.

NE lost to Buffalo last year.
Philly beat Dallas and Atlanta.
LARm housed the Seahawks.
The Jags knocked the Titans out of the playoffs.

Bad teams occasionally sneak up on good teams. History won't remember this game was closer than it should have been. How many people remember the 2007 Pats playing down to the 2007 Ravens? Who remembers the 2016 Pats sneaking past the Jets?

by Will Allen :: Mon, 09/11/2017 - 2:08pm

Oh, and Mr. Schatz? Don't you dare be suggesting that a team like the Colts put my personal hero, Chase Daniel, on their roster, thus threatening to preclude the standard I wish to see teached, which is more than 30 million in earnings, on less than 100 career pass attempts!

by Will Allen :: Mon, 09/11/2017 - 2:47pm

Mort reports 5 Texans, including 3 tight ends, are diagnosed with concussions. The Texans play Thursday. If they are going to play Thursdays, I think it is time to extend the season to having the Super Bowl on Presidents's day weekend, have two bye weeks, and get rid of short weeks.

by dmstorm22 :: Mon, 09/11/2017 - 2:55pm

The two-bye weeks approach makes so much sense to me. So much better than adding a game.

Also, love the idea of the Super Bowl ending on President's Day Weekend. Especially as it just confirms the unofficial holiday that is the day after the Super Bowl.

by dank067 :: Mon, 09/11/2017 - 3:56pm

It makes so much sense but I worry it will never happen until the NFL finally gives up on their dream of an 18 game season (may it never come to pass).

by Bryan Knowles :: Mon, 09/11/2017 - 4:16pm

The out-there idea I've heard that I like is abandoning two weeks of the preseason and adding two weeks to the regular season instead.

One of them is an extra bye week, so each team has two bye weeks.

The other is a neutral-site Game 17, so no one has to give up a home game to play in, say, London, or Mexico City. Or Toronto, or San Antonio or Frankfurt and so on and so on.

Obviously, going to an odd number of games would feel really, really, really weird, but it feels a little bit like a win-win-win: more rest for the players, more weeks of NFL action for the broadcasters, more games in foreign markets for the NFL, fewer preseason games for everybody who cares about football in any way, shape or form.

by ZDNeal :: Tue, 09/12/2017 - 1:25pm

Abandon all 4 preseason weeks and add 2 byes and 2 regular season games. I think the Networks would gladly trade 4 additional regular season weekends for 4 preseason games.

by Bright Blue Shorts :: Tue, 09/12/2017 - 2:43pm

And let's not forget the 17-game promotional benefits of rewriting the record books both in terms of single season and in the longer term careers.

by ChrisLong :: Mon, 09/11/2017 - 3:29pm

Game will likely be played in the remnants of Hurricane Irma as well. Can't wait to watch.

by TomC :: Mon, 09/11/2017 - 6:40pm

ATL-CHI thoughts:

1) Atlanta's offense was not as efficient as I'd expected. Several 3-and-outs, and the two late scores were mostly two weird broken plays to Austin Hooper of all people.

2) At one point in the 3rd quarter the Bears had 13 net yards passing. Glennon's stat line looked a lot better by the end of the game, but that was all in the 4th quarter with Atlanta trying to protect a 2-score lead. Reminiscent of Matt Barkley getting 300 yards of passing by cleverly getting 3 scores behind Tennessee.

3) The Bears run blocking + Jordan Howard + Tarik Cohen will make this team almost enjoyable to watch even though they won't win very many games. Cohen was far and away the most entertaining player on the field yesterday.

4) I guess I should know who Brooks Reed is, but I didn't until yesterday. (Obviously I'm a Bears fan.) With all eyes on Beasley, Reed made two or three huge plays, including the clincher.

5) The Bears should seriously consider some 13/22/23 packages on offense. I'm not sure they have a legitimate #2 WR, let alone a #1.

by ChrisS :: Tue, 09/12/2017 - 11:17am

After just seeing Chicago highlights on red-zone Cohen looked very good, fast, quick and a hard runner. Never heard of him before Sunday, I guess NC AT&T is pretty obscure

by Steve in WI :: Tue, 09/12/2017 - 1:40pm

I got to watch that game and came out of it feeling cautiously optimistic. Glennon was fine, but he doesn't matter. Cohen looks like something special. The defense looked okay, minus making Austin Hooper look like Rob Gronkowski (but we knew the secondary was still a weakness). Akiem Hicks looked like he wanted to justify the contract he just signed.

It's just sad that they have apparently gone back to being in the bottom of the league when it comes to WRs. Obviously the injury to Meredith was awful but he wasn't really a #1 anyway. And I feel bad for Kevin White getting hurt again, but based on how little he did in the preseason and before the injury I have to think he wasn't going to be effective anyway. They are really going to have to upgrade the position in the offseason or else Trubisky is going to be handicapped by a lack of receivers to throw to.

by TomC :: Tue, 09/12/2017 - 1:52pm

Tanier summed it up nicely in his Digest column: "The Bears are going to be a tough out all season. But still an out."

by TomC :: Mon, 09/11/2017 - 6:55pm

Bryan Knowles: Green Bay has led the league in each of the last three seasons drawing defensive 12-man penalties, thanks to Aaron Rodgers. He catches the Seahawks substituting and hits Jordy Nelson for a deep touchdown in all the confusion. It's such an underrated skill of his; it seems to give the Packers an extra shot down the field every other game.

If Joe Buck and Troy Aikman talk about it for minutes at a time on the network broadcast, it's not an underrated skill. Not anymore at least.

by Eddo :: Mon, 09/11/2017 - 10:47pm

Ha, I missed that comment. Yeah, it is decidedly not something that flies under the radar with Rodgers - every commentator mentions it at least twice whenever I see the Packers play.

by Steve in WI :: Tue, 09/12/2017 - 1:45pm

I credit Rodgers and the Packers for capitalizing on it, but this and the free plays that occur on an offsides penalty drive me nuts. In a league that is already so heavily tilted towards offense giving a QB a play where nothing bad can happen is such a huge advantage. As a viewer it feels like such a cheap way to manufacture a TD or a big gain as often happens.

I wish they would revise the 12-man penalty so that it is only called if there are 12 defenders actually setting up on the field. I hate it that 9 times out of 10 it's called on a guy who is clearly sprinting off the field and is just a couple steps in bounds.

by theslothook :: Tue, 09/12/2017 - 2:18pm

One way is to make it a dead ball penalty - like a false start

by gmoney_714 :: Wed, 09/13/2017 - 6:25pm

I feel like FOX knows that I despise Joe Buck and they assign him to my games on purpose.

by nuclearbdgr :: Tue, 09/12/2017 - 7:35am

The Packers ended up with 26 first downs against the Seahawks - that doesn't happen all that often (just a couple times a year over the past few years).

The VOA is still not going to be great - many conversions were on 3 & long, not a sustainable enterprise (although the Pack did avoid too many 3 & outs, even with the offense struggling a smidge in the first half).

The DVOA, assuming Seattle's D stays healthy, should be pretty impressive when all is said and done. And as they say, when all is said and done, there is a lot more said than done.